Risk management and disaster recovery planning are quickly becoming key foundations for securing every business’s future. Data backup is inevitably an essential component for ensuring business continuity given the many different ways that data loss can occur – such as:
- Hardware and software failure
- Theft of computing devices
- Malware attacks
- Data breaches
- Natural disasters
- Power outages
- Human errors
- IT-related accidents
There is a growing need to back up business data, mainly due to the increasingly sophisticated nature of targeted cyberattacks. But, worryingly, a recent study revealed that about 39 percent of SMEs do not have proactive response strategies in place to cope with data loss.
One of the main reasons that some businesses lack a data backup system is overconfidence in preemptive measures that, unfortunately, do not always work. Some entrepreneurs are also oblivious to the risks and implications of data loss or unaware of what backing up data really entails.
“… a recent study revealed that about 39 percent of SMEs do not have proactive response strategies in place to cope with data loss.”
How to back up data
A lot of people mistake data archives for backups. An archive is a long-term data storage for dormant information that is no longer in regular use. A backup, on the other hand, is an exact up-to-date copy of all the data in circulation that can seamlessly substitute the primary data reserve. Since you never know when or how data loss may occur, data has to be backed up regularly or as soon as it is generated or modified.
The 3-2-1 rule is often suggested to create and manage backups. According to this rule of thumb, you should keep at least three synchronized copies of data: two must be on different mediums and the third stored securely off-site. The idea behind the 3-2-1 strategy is to spread out the data loss risks so no single threat can possibly affect all three copies. Nowadays, cloud storage services have made it so much easier for businesses to back up and retrieve their data remotely.
5 reasons why your business needs a data backup plan
Information is obviously an essential business asset in the modern data-centric business environment. Having a data backup plan is an excellent way to guarantee data availability and integrity at all times, which is beneficial in these five ways:
1. Reduce downtime
In today’s fast-paced business world, downtime is measured in seconds. In a 2019 survey, a quarter of the respondents said that the average cost of enterprise server downtime ranged between $300,000 and $400,000 per hour. Lost revenue, unrealized productivity, recovery expenses, and other intangible costs all add up to the total financial toll of downtime.
In most organizations, data sits at the center of most business operations, including revenue generation, financial management, and enterprise logistics. So, unexpected data unavailability can inevitably bring an entire enterprise to a standstill.
Identifying and analyzing all your data dependencies should help you appreciate how readily available data empowers your enterprise. From that perspective, you should then formulate a data backup strategy to avoid starving critical business functions in the event of data loss.
2. Secure data availability and access
Data protection is a security priority for many companies. Cybercrimes and data breaches are growing more elaborate and rampant, making it nearly impossible to guarantee 100 percent data security, even with formidable cybersecurity gear and best practices.
Take ransomware attacks, which, according to various reports, are some of the most prevalent and damaging forms of cyberattacks. It is incredibly easy to get around a ransomware attack by flushing the infected or sieged data source and deploying a backup in its place. In some way, at least, having a ready backup at all times immunizes your business against one of the most devastating online threats.
Backups also help maintain data availability, integrity, and access in case of other data loss scenarios such as data corruption and human error. In addition to preserving the data repository, backups also enable organizations to comply with various data security standards and regulations. In most businesses, data loss is simply unacceptable, let alone unaffordable.
3. Protect business reputation
While the financial impact alone is sobering enough, also consider what losing vast volumes of customer, business, and employee data would say about your organization. Keep in mind that data loss is generally frowned upon as recklessness and that customers and associates do not necessarily care who or what is to blame when it happens. It is the organization’s responsibility to protect both customer and internal data and to also restore or recover it in case of loss.
Loss of business reputation is one of the main reasons that a majority of small businesses fade away shortly after experiencing a catastrophic data loss incident. Customers can quickly lose trust in your brand and perceive your business as unreliable if it fails to manage and protect vital information.
4. Guarantee business continuity
Since data is tied to so many business processes, a dependable data backup and restoration system is an integral part of any disaster recovery plan. Every organization needs a continuity plan to ensure that it survives through disasters. Data is among the top assets worth safeguarding from all manner potential threats if you are going to develop an effective continuity strategy.
The idea of a data backup is to have a transferable and useable data vault that can be deployed from anywhere at any time. A backup comes in handy, for instance, when physical data infrastructures fail, allowing the business to proceed normally in a crisis.
5. To get the most out of data
Businesses usually analyze their data to draw useful insights, such as consumer behavior patterns and market trends. In most cases, analytics involves manipulating data sets and changing their structural or logical characteristics. Some analytics tools work on raw data that cannot be used for other purposes, making them unsuitable for real-time implementation without an active data backup system. Multiple analytics applications may also need separate instances of data to work properly. Having a backup that can be mirrored quickly may enable your business to fully utilize its data swiftly and more efficiently.
Data protection alone is not enough to guarantee data availability. Data loss disasters can happen at any time, and most of them are unpredictable and unavoidable. Although it is still worthwhile to invest in robust cybersecurity, setting up a backup system adds a layer of reassurance should technical and physical data security measures fail.